|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:1-17 Here is an explanation of the parable in the last chapter. It is declared that the Lord was about to cut off Jerusalem and the whole land, that all might know it was his decree against a wicked and rebellious people. It behoves those who denounce the awful wrath of God against sinners, to show that they do not desire the woful day. The example of Christ teaches us to lament over those whose ruin we declare. Whatever instruments God uses in executing his judgments, he will strengthen them according to the service they are employed in. The sword glitters to the terror of those against whom it is drawn. It is a sword to others, a rod to the people of the Lord. God is in earnest in pronouncing this sentence, and the prophet must show himself in earnest in publishing it.
Verse 10. - The sceptre of my son, etc. The clause is obscure, possibly corrupt, and has received many interpretations.
(1) Taking the received text, the most probable explanation is that given by Keil and Kliefoth: Shall we rejoice (saying), The sceptre of my son despiseth all woods. Here the "rod" is the "sceptre" of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and the words are supposed to be spoken by those who hear of the destroying sword. They need not dread the sword, they say, because the sceptre of the house of David, whom Jehovah recognizes as his son, despises all wood, looks on every other rod that is the symbol of sovereignty, with scorn. It is urged, in favour of this interpretation, that ver. 27 contains an unmistakable refer, nee to the prophetic words of Genesis 49:10.
(2) Ewald: It is no weak rod of my son, the softest of all wood; i.e. the sword of Jehovah is no weak weapon such as might be used for the chastisement of a child (Proverbs 10:13; Proverbs 13:24).
(3) Hengstenberg: Shall we rejoice over the rod of my son, despising every tree? There is no cause for anything but the reverse of joy in the rod, the punishment which God appoints for Israel as his son, and which surpasses all others in its severity.
(4) The Authorized Version and Revised Version (margin) make the "sword" the nominative, and the words are those of Jehovah: It contemneth the rod (i.e. the sceptre) of my son, as it contemns every other tree (i.e. as in Ezekiel 20:4), every other national sovereignty.
(5) The Revised. Version and Authorized Version (margin): It (the sword) is the rod of my son (appointed for his chastisement), and it despiseth every tree, in same sense as in (4).
(6) Cornill, altering the text, almost rewriting it, gets the meaning: It (the sword) is for men who murder and plunder, and regard not any strength. Neither the LXX. nor the Vulgate help us, the former giving, "Slay, set at naught, reject every tree;" and the latter, "Thou who guidest the sceptre of my son, thou hast cut down." On the whole, (1) seems to rest on better ground than the others.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter,.... To cut easily, and wound deeply, and make a slaughter of men, like beasts for sacrifice; a sacrifice to the justice of God for their sins, and so acceptable to him; and it is he indeed that sharpens it, or prepares the instruments of his vengeance, whether Chaldeans, or Romans, or both; and gives them might and courage to execute his will with great keenness of wrath and fury:
it is furbished that it may glitter; and so strike terror on those against whom it is drawn, and for whom it is prepared, as glittering armour does:
should we then make mirth? sing, and dance, and feast, and indulge ourselves in all kind of mirth and jollity, when this is the case, a drawn, sharp, glittering sword hangs over our heads? no, surely! there is good reason for you to lament and sigh, as I do; you ask me the reason of it, this is it; is there not a cause? there is; it is not a season for mirth; but for weeping and lamentation. The words may be rendered, "or let us rejoice" (r); that is, if we can, ironically spoken.
It contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree; thus says the Lord God, this sword so sharpened and brightened despises the rod or sceptre (for so the word signifies) of Israel my son, my firstborn, and makes no more of it than a common stick, and cuts it to pieces, and destroys it; signifying hereby the easy destruction of the sceptre and kingdom of Judah by the sword of the Chaldeans or Romans. Some understand it of Christ the Son of God. The words may be rendered, "it is the rod of my son, it despiseth every tree" (s); this sword, prepared, is no other than the rod of iron, which the Son of God makes use of to rule his enemies with, and break them in pieces; and no tree, high and low, can stand before it; it cuts down all, and destroys them, be they what they will; see Psalm 2:7. Cocceius interprets the former clause, "or we shall make merry" (t), of the Father and of the Son, and of their delight and pleasure, while wrath was executed on their enemies.
(r) "laetemar", Castalio; "gaudeamus", Glassius. (s) "virga est filii me ilia spernit, vel quae spermit omne lignum", Tigurine, version, Piscator, the margin of our Bibles. (t) "Aut hilarabimur", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. to make a sore slaughter—literally, "that killing it may kill."
glitter—literally, "glitter as the lightning flash": flashing terror into the foe.
should we … make mirth—It is no time for levity when such a calamity is impending (Isa 22:12, 13).
it contemneth the rod of my son, &c.—The sword has no more respect to the trivial "rod" or scepter of Judah (Ge 49:10) than if it were any common "tree." "Tree" is the image retained from Eze 20:47; explained in Eze 21:2, 3. God calls Judah "My son" (compare Ex 4:22; Ho 11:1). Fairbairn arbitrarily translates, "Perchance the scepter of My son rejoiceth; it (the sword) despiseth every tree."
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